Peter – You follow Me, Part two
Jesus was on the shore cooking breakfast as the men paddled toward shore. He called to them asking about their catch. They called back that they’d been skunked to which the stranger called out to throw their nets on the other side. For some reason they did and the fish literally rushed the net, filling it to capacity. John recognized the miracle, “It’s the Lord,” he said.
Peter dove into the water, he was desperate for Jesus.
Jesus shared a meal with the boys from the boat and then pulled Peter aside for a talk. He wanted to restore His dear disciple and did so gently, with one question for each time Peter had denied Him.
“Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. (John 21:15-17)
Jesus asked, Simon, do you “agape” me, using the deepest term of love, the unconditional, unfailing, selfless love of God.
Peter’s response was “philo” brotherly love, “love ya, man.” He didn’t yet understand, or maybe as yet lacked the capacity for agape love.
The second exchange was the same, “Do you agape Me?” “Yes, I “philo” you.”
The third time Jesus asked, He too said ‘philo’ – Simon, do you “philo” me?
Peter was upset, maybe confused, but affirmed that he loved (philo) Jesus more than anyone.
Jesus grace is so profound that even when we are unable to love Him as deeply as He loves us we are still accepted, still unconditionally embraced – that is the Love of God in Christ.
Jesus added, “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.” (21:18-19)
In other words, You’re not always going to be the strong one, Peter. Others will eventually minister to you, both for good and for ill.
Finally, Peter asked about John, wondering what lay ahead for him. And Jesus replied, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you” You follow me.” (21:21-22)
I can imagine Jesus smiling and pulling Peter’s face to look directly at his, a hand on each of the fisherman’s cheeks, “Peter, look at me. You follow Me. Don’t worry about any body else, I’ll take care of them. You just stick close to Me, got it?”
Peter would be able to walk in the calling of ‘feeding the sheep of Jesus’ to the extent that He followed Jesus closely in life. “You follow Me.”
The same is true for you and I, dear one. How are you called to serve others? To strengthen the brothers or feed the flock of God, as Peter was? Or is it to be a compassionate nurse, or trustworthy friend? A loving grand parent or a listening spouse? Jesus calls each of us to serve.
Then when your mind starts to go rogue and you wonder about someone else’s calling, or try and plot out the way you will go about your task, Jesus stops you. He gently places a nail pierced hand on each side of your face and draws you close with a smile, and when He has your full attention He says, “You follow Me.” That’s it. That’s your job. Focus on Me. This is the key to success in your calling.